Today we were going to spend the day learning how to cook from an awesome grand-uncle who can make that dim sum stuff I mentioned. That food is deceptively hard to cook, and after my abysmal attempt to do it on my own, we figured getting help from somebody who actually knew what he was doing might be a good idea. XDDD
My granduncle, who is not blood related, unfortunately (no chance of inheriting wicked cooking skills, huh?), came to the US from Hong Kong when he was 50. He used to be a traveling salesman in China, but when he came to Seattle, my grandpa set up a job for him at a friend's restaurant. After traveling around so much, my granduncle became interested in cooking for himself (which, I should add, is pretty unusual among Chinese men; women tend to do the more involved cooking), but he retired after two car crashes sent him into surgery. He's 76 now, and much more spritely than I thought any 76-year-old has a right to be. XD
After an excellent brunch of dim sum food (which, I confess, pretty much left the restaurant food in the dust!), he started to explain the recipe for tripe to my mom, my sister, and I. Our grandpa explaining the more difficult concepts (like converting Chinese measurements to English) to our dad, who translated everything to us.
Speaking of Chinese measurements you know how you bake by weight instead of by volume? (Well, if you don't, you do now. Makes your cakes more consistent.) Well, my granduncle does weigh his ingredients, but he uses a Chinese scale, a contraption that looks like a stick with a metal dish hanging from one end and a sliding weight hanging from the other. So you place your ingredients on your dish, and check the weight of them by sliding the weight up and down the stick til the stick levels out. Behold!
For ingredients he just eyeballed, we had to measure them out, but since he doesn't own teaspoons or US cups, we measured everything in terms of Chinese soup bowls and soup spoons. They're surprisingly consistent, even among different companies.
Anyways, after the tripe, he taught us the steamed Chinese sponge cake, which is an eggier, lighter, and slightly less sweet version of yellow cake, and yes, it's steamed, not baked. Then we moved onto the yummy spareribs I mentioned in my last update , which are surprisingly easy, and last were the mantao, a fluffy white bread that's similar to the steamed char siu bao. (I'm still transcribing my notes for those. )
After that, we headed out to see "Brave." I liked it a lot, but there was this black bar across the screen that made everything very dark, and it lasted almost the whole movie, so I'll probably go see it again. We did get free re-admission tickets due to the technical issues, but the tickets are only good for AMC theaters, and there are only Regal ones in Gainesville. Anyways, I liked this movie a lot, but I think it was a little intense for the younger kids in the audience; I heard a lot of whimpering in the seats around me. Still, I feel like this movie is the most "Disney-esque" out of all their movies. I could easily see this being made in the same vein as Belle, Jasmine, and Ariel.
A nice (veggie-filled) dinner at a Greek restaurant, and I'm calling it quits for today. Tomorrow's our last day, so I guess I'll see you then!
Pics of the scale, "pai gwut", and "mantao": www.tumblr.com/blog/whiskeyii